OTJIWARONGO, 04 DEC – Farmers in the Otjozondjupa Region have expressed mixed feelings about the conservation and population increase of cheetahs in the country.
Namibia has the largest cheetah population in the world with over 1 500 in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions, out of the world’s population of 8 000 cheetahs.
The farmers aired their views during the annual celebration of International Cheetah Day which was organised by the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) at Otjiwarongo on Tuesday.
A farmer in the region, Chris Feyerabend, told Nampa that once the cheetah population increases in the wild, livestock will be affected.
“I know cheetahs, they like clean and fresh meat on a daily basis. Our livestock will be hunted and killed daily for meat,” he said.
He added that since cheetahs are faster than goats and sheep, his livestock will be targeted as prey.
Klass Klazinga, also a farmer, suggested that Global Positing System (GPS) collars be used to track the movements of each cheetah so that those that kill livestock can be removed from private farms and kept in enclosures at CCF.
On his part, Edwin Ndara said endangered species like cheetahs need protection from conservationists and farmers to help boost Namibia’s economy through tourism.
“I just took my family to the CCF on Sunday to see live cheetahs. Their efforts to conserve our cheetah population needs to be supported by all of us,” Ndara noted.
CCF is situated about 44 kilometres east of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region and has a total of 33 cheetahs aged between seven months and 13 years on its farmland.
International Cheetah Day is celebrated in honour of the birthday of Khayam, the first female cheetah that was born in the United States of America from African cheetah parents.
Dr Laurie Marker, the founder of CCF raised Khayam in America and brought the cheetah to Namibia in 1977 for a first-of-its-kind research project to see if a cheetah raised in captivity can be taught to hunt. – NAMPA